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WONDER-WORKING BY HYPNOTISM 107
After about half an hour the police interfered and stopped the demonstration, but so far, of course, it was successful. Then I came to France, and there I was not only permitted to repeat the same experiment but actually to extend it. For twenty-four hours I remained in the coffin under water, rny body in a state of catalepsy, while police and other? guarded the demonstration all the time to prevent trickery. Here are two photographs which were taken on the spot. The first shows my rigid entranced body being laid in the coffin; the second shows the coffin being lifted out of the water where it had lain for twenty-four hours. I was glad to invite and undergo this test because so many critics have claimed to expose the performance of the Indian fakirs in being buried alive, a performance which you described in your own book on India. They say that the fakirs pre-arrange to have a secret air channel dug through the earth and that by this means they continue to breathe. No doubt this occurs in the case of pseudo-fakirs who are merely conjurers and illusionists, but it is totally unnecessary in the case of those who have learnt the genuine secrets of our art and can entrance the body at will. It is for this reason that I arranged a test under water, where the conditions are transparent and everything can be controlled by observers. Doctors were especially interested in this feat and they tried every means to test its genuineness, and quite rightly, but because it was based on natural laws I had nothing to fear.
"Although I am fond of the comforts of European life, I am also attached to my own country, and thus I make it a point to divide part of my time each year between Egypt and Europe. T like Europeans and some of them appreciate and welcome me. Once when the Queen of Spain telegraphed for me to go to her country, she even sent an official escort to conduct rne. I do not feel vain about my achievements. The past now moves before my eyes like a wonderful film. A true fakir is above such things as vanity and greed; he lives an inner life detached from excessive worldly desires. You know the fakirs of the Orient, and I think you will agree that my case is almost unique because the others, where genuine, do not care to visit Europe and are too proud to submit themselves to critical investigations; in fact they think it is useless to show you their feats, as you Europeans are sure to attribute such to charlatanry or jugglery—in short, to anything but the right causes. And, much more important, they do not possess my knowledge of